Zamfara APC: Appeal Court judgement shrouded in uncertainty

All Progressives CongressAPC
All Progressives Congress (APC)

There is controversy over whether the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal cleared the Zamfara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to contest the governorship and national and state Assembly elections in the state.

Yesterday evening, reports indicated that the state APC had been cleared by the Appeal Court in Abuja to present candidates for the elections they had earlier been barred from.

Hours after, fresh reports indicated that the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal set aside the judgement of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which affirmed the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that barred the APC from fielding candidates in the elections in Zamfara.

On January 25, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had, in a judgement held that INEC was right to have delisted names of candidates the APC presented for the elections, stating that the APC failed to conduct a valid primary within the period scheduled by the electoral body.

But, an earlier report, yesterday, indicated that a three-man panel of the appellate court, led by Justice Abdul Aboki, held that the trial court lacked the jurisdiction to have entertained the suit, that it was an abuse of court process.

He stressed that the suit at the federal high court was filed out of time, the Electoral Act provides for 14 days to institute a suit after the cause of action had arisen, the suit was filed 15 days after, and therefore rendered the action incompetent.

But the Court of Appeal in Sokoto did not order INEC to accept Zamfara APC candidates.

Rather, the three-member panel of the court gave an order, through Justice Jummai Sankey, dismissing a suit filed by a member of the House of Representatives, Aminu Jaji.

The suit was challenging the ruling of a high court of Zamfara State, which ordered INEC to accept candidates from the APC.

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Jaji, one of the governorship aspirants of the APC, approached the Court of Appeal to inform it of his decision to withdraw the suit. Following his request, the court dismissed the suit based on its rules and the request of the plaintiff.

A certified copy of the dismissal, reads: “It is ordered as follows: That the appellant, having met all the conditions for the withdrawal of the appeal, as set out under order 11, rule 1.

“This appeal under No. CA/S/23/2019 is hereby dismissed pursuant to order 11, rule 5 of the court of appeal rules 2016.”

Jaji asked the Sokoto Division of the Court of Appeal to nullify the judgement by the Zamfara State High Court which had directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to accept candidates from the APC.

At about the same time as the Zamfara high court ruling, another high court in Abuja also ordered INEC not to accept candidates from the governing party in the state.

INEC announced that it decided to comply with the order of the Abuja court.

INEC had declined to accept APC candidates in Zamfara because, according to the commission, the party failed to meet the deadline for holding primaries.

Ibrahim Dosara, a spokesperson for Abdulaziz Yari, governor of Zamfara State, had, in a message claimed that by Wednesday’s dismissal, the judgement by the Zamfara State High Court stands.

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